The nation is quickly approaching the one year mark of Donald Trump’s presidency. Over the course of the 2016 presidential election cycle, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to fight for people’s Second Amendment rights; whether it be by repealing Obama-era gun regulations, encouraging Congress to pass pro-second amendment legislation, or appointing federal judges that would protect one of America’s most important constitutional rights.
2017 was a good year for gun owners and the Second Amendment. One can point to many wins for the Second Amendment this year, but here are five.
Perhaps the most significant win for 2A supporters and gun owners this year, a victory that occurred just this month, was the passage of H.R. 38, a national reciprocity and background check improvement bill, in the House of Representatives. Though the legislation has yet to become law, organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) have been pressuring the Republican-led Congress to hold a vote on this bill for years. The NRA and gun owners across the country may now see their hopes come to fruition. This bill never had the chance to become law under former President Barack Obama. But in a party-line vote, House Republicans passed the bill 231 to 198.
While the passage in the House was a high point, it was also amusing to watch the liberals freak out.
In a move that many will see as a way to make college campuses safer, three additional states passed legislation that will now allow those with concealed carry licenses to carry on public universities, though there may be some restrictions in place and additional requirements for gun owners to meet. Georgia, Arkansas, and Kansas all passed this important legislation earlier in the year, much to the dismay of liberals who think gun-free zones are the solution to mass shootings. In reality, gun-free zones make innocent people sitting ducks. Second Amendment supporters understand the best way to defend against mass shootings is to have responsible gun carriers.
Capitalizing on a campaign promise, President Trump appointed a constitutional originalist in Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and he has continued to appoint judges to vacant seats who respect the rights in the constitution. Several of President Trump’s appointees have been endorsed by the NRA and are now sitting in lifetime positions. The president has set a record for having the most confirmations in a president’s first year in office, and there are many more vacancies to be filled. The more constitutionalists appointed, the safer the Second Amendment and the American people’s gun rights will be. As an example, former Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Justice Don Willett, was endorsed by the NRA. President Trump appointed, and the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed, Judge Willett to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Though Hillary Clinton did not win the presidential election last year, it appears that gun sales have not fallen. As Tom explained last week, though gun manufacturers see a loss of profits, it’s not because the American people aren’t buying guns. Gun manufacturers have an inventory problem, which means more affordable firearms for buyers as the rate of demand drives prices down. These manufacturers may have been expecting a President Hillary Clinton and were gearing up for a spike in sales as the American people would expect a significant push for gun control. Evidence of an increase in gun sales occurred on Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, the FBI conducted a record number of background checks, 203,086 to be exact. In July, the Washington Examiner reported that 2017 was on pace to be “the second biggest year for gun sales ever.”
In November, those on the left claimed that President Trump had made it easier for those with mental illnesses to acquire a firearm. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. What President Trump did was repeal a regulation that had done away with a person’s right to due process, as the regulation prevented those looking to exercise their second amendment rights from buying a gun. The Daily Wire explained:
The actual purpose of the bill … was to undo a last-minute Obama regulation approved by the Social Security Administration after Trump was elected. In 2013, following the Sandy Hook school shooting, then-President Obama first suggested the original regulation, which required the automatic reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) of Social Security recipients whose benefit payments are sent to a designated “representative payee” because the recipients are considered incapable of maintaining their own financial affairs. Inclusion in the NICS effectively prohibits a person from purchasing a firearm. This is an obvious restriction of Second Amendment rights…
Even the American Civil Liberties Union agreed with President Trump’s move to do away with the regulation.
Next year, conservatives and Second Amendment supporters have a few legislative moves and regulations to look out for. As mentioned previously, the House has passed its national reciprocity legislation, but it still must pass in the Senate. Now, it will be up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to ensure Republicans have the votes, so that President Trump can sign the legislation into law.
Along with the national reciprocity legislation, a group of Senators has also introduced separate legislation to fix the NICS system by creating penalties for agencies that fail to accurately report the criminal histories of individuals to the FBI. As the legislation has bipartisan support from its onset, the bill has a shot at becoming law. Currently, the legislation does not appear to restrict gun rights but intends to prevent errors in relaying information to other agencies, with the aim of keeping another Sutherland Springs massacre from happening again.
Furthermore, a big review is already underway on bump stocks, and a decision can be expected to be reached next year. Bump stocks have come under intense scrutiny after it was revealed that the Las Vegas shooter used the devices to increase the rate of fire from his semi-automatic rifles to carry kill dozens of concertgoers. The DOJ and ATF are considering their options.
Below is a Vice interview with a former ATF analyst who helped determine the legality of bump stocks.
In 2017, the American people received a small taste of how the Second Amendment will be treated under a Trump presidency and a Republican-led Congress. There is a lot to look forward to in 2018, and Republican voters will need to focus on the 2018 midterm elections to ensure President Trump has the support he needs in Congress to further his conservative agenda in protecting the Second Amendment and encouraging Americans to exercise their right to bear arms.